MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) on Tuesday submitted a bill in the Knesset which would require the government to normalize communities built with government approval irrespective of subsequent land claims.
The bill would thereby safeguard the presently threatened communities of Amona, Givat Assaf, Migron, the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, and others.
Orlev’s bill stipulates any land claim filed more than four years after construction begins cannot result in demolition and eviction orders. Rather, courts would be empowered only to order monetary compensation or alternative ground.
The explanatory notes accompanying the law state, "in recent years a number of petitions have been filed by public bodies contending with Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, which demand the destruction communities or neighborhoods alleged to have been established on privately owned land."
"Both the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court believe that the exclusive remedy in these cases is demolition orders. In the case of many communities, such petitions were filed disputing present claims to the land many years after the fact, often in places where dozens of families live with their children," it continued.
The notes also say, "It should be noted that these settlements were established in good faith and have been approved and assisted by the relevant ministries, and have been provided with the public services assistance and services customary in every community."
Orlev explained, "The bill is intended to prevent the destruction of houses if four years have passed since the establishment of the community without a competing land claim being filed by plaintiff, who must be able prove ownership in a court of law by providing the customary evidence."
"The proposal relates only to communities which have no less than twenty families. Properly speaking, in the future these communities join all other [legitimate] communities in Judea and Samaria," Orlev explained.
"Demolitions are pointless, and worse, are contrary to morality and natural justice,” Orlev argued. “Plaintiffs often do not present any piece of evidence to validate their claims, and just as often have waited periods of many years before disputing ownership.”
"In these cases, we have to balance the interest of the owner - that full compensation should be granted in the form of money - and the public’s vested interest in avoiding unnecessary destruction of settlements when they were established in good faith, and without knowledge that it was private land,” he concluded.